FA harsher on biting than racism
Biting somebody is worse than being racist. This is the message the England Football Association has sent out to the rest of the world.
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was handed a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in last weekend's English Premier League match at Anfield. Three heads sat down and all unanimously agreed that sinking your teeth into somebody’s skin is worse than racially abusing somebody.
"A three-person independent regulatory commission today upheld the FA's claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three," the FA said on its website, thefa.com.
Liverpool were quick to react, with managing director Ian Ayre declaring: "Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today's independent regulatory commission decision.
Shocked and disappointed? That’s an understatement. This is an embarrassment and a slap in the face of Fifa and football lovers, who are against discrimination in the beautiful game.
Suarez knows he is in the wrong and that it was a mistake. That’s why he made an effort to call Ivanovic to apologise to him directly. The Chelsea defender has acknowledged the apology.
I concur with the Liverpool goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, that the 10-game punishment is simply absurd, excessive and unfair.
"I consider myself a friend of Luis. He is being treated differently, I don't know if it is because he is Uruguayan or because he has been involved in similar episodes. It seems the people who make the decisions have it in for him. There is a lot of hypocrisy. There have been cases of racism where they have handed out a four-game ban and he got eight," Reina was quoted as telling radio station Cadena Copeby sports daily AS on Thursday.
Yes, Suarez is no stranger to trouble. In 2010 he was suspended for seven matches in the Netherlands when he sank his teeth into PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal.
Last year the FA banned him for eight matches and imposed a £40 000 ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
Ironically, Chelsea captain John Terry was banned for just four domestic matches by the England FA after a hearing, which found him guilty of racial abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.
What does this say about English football. Racism is racism and can’t be classed as severe or mild. Therefore the punishment should send a strong message. As Reina suggested, it seems England is an ‘Animal Farm’ where some animals are more equal than others and racism is the least of the FA’s worries
QPR midfielder Joey Barton was slapped with a 12-match suspension for two counts of violent conduct against Manchester City in the final game of last season.
In 1998, Paolo di Canio – now Sunderland manager – was banned for 11 games for pushing a referee while playing for Sheffield Wednesday.
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand was suspended for eight months for missing a drugs test in 2003 while Mark Bosnich and Eric Cantona were each banned for nine months.
Old Trafford player Cantona's punishment came after he launched a kung-fu style kick against a supporter at Crystal Palace in 1995, while Chelsea goalkeeper Bosnich was sanctioned after testing positive for cocaine in 2003.
Football is an emotional game. Those who play or have have played it will tell you that sometime you lose your head and do something that you don’t understand yourself. In the Chelsea v Liverpool match there was a lot a stake and Suarez did something wrong but the punishment leaves a lot to be desired.
England, is biting worse than racism?